20 Apr The Abiding Joy of an Irrevocable Inheritance
Christian people should be the most thankful people on the planet. I am ashamed then to admit that I at least, am often the most thankless person I know…
The absolute worst, which is what I deserve, I shall never have. The greatest possible gift, which in my sanest state I could never have hoped to earn, I’ve been given freely. Therefore, even if this life was all bad, that maximally good and undeserved gift, eternal life, should be enough to command and compel my unwavering thankfulness. But, I am not unwaveringly thankful.
What’s worse is that this life is not all bad, for I am afforded a good deal more gifts and everyday this is so. These are lesser gifts of course when compared with that chiefest gift, but good gifts nonetheless. How incredibly cold my heart still proves to be even now that it is no longer stone and beats again!
What can add to an eternal gift? Should I rejoice less when I face trial in this life as if that imperishable gift has diminished even one bit?! Have I forgotten the meaning of imperishable? What a miserable wretch I am…
It would be at this point that in the past I would have lowered my head and pridefully despaired. But even as I write this, that most glorious gift is still mine! It came to me independent of my efforts, so that I am assured that I will never lose it by my failures. Nothing can be added to it and certainly nothing can be taken away from it.
May my God not let me in this moment commit two evils: thanklessness, which I am already guilty of, and pride. I will not, by the Lord’s good grace and gentle Spirit, look at myself so much that I tend towards self-exaltation or self-defamation. What I think about myself is no longer relevant. What my Good Lord says about me is of the only pertinence.
My Good Lord, you see, has a way of speaking things into existence, so that what he says that we are, we start becoming at the moment at which he says it. And so, Paul assures us that we shall become fully that which our Good Lord has said of us, at his return (Php 1:6; 1 Jn 3:2).
So, what has he said to be true of us? In our Good Lord we were chosen, and we have been since before he had prepared the world or laid even its foundation (Eph 1:4). In our Good Lord we were predestined for an irreversible adoption, and this was so even though he knew that we would rebel and seek emancipation for ourselves (Eph 1:5). In our Good Lord we are redeemed and forgiven of our every transgression, even those we have yet to commit (Eph 1:7).
Thus, wretches though rightfully we may be called, our Good Lord does not see fit to do so. Should we then? Our Good Lord has seen fit to identify us with so sweet a name that even a whisper of his name is as the most beautiful symphony. At the name of Jesus my cold heart can’t help but bow and my tongue uncontrollably confesses that he is my Good Lord!
And beyond our wildest imaginations, we are co-heirs with him, so that what he shall inherit, we shall also inherit (Rom 8:17). Shall this inheritance ever be stolen away like Esau’s? Shall death rob us of it just as it took away everything that Steve Jobs possessed?
Paul, by our Good Lord, silences our fears and quiets our souls. It was the infinitely deep love of our Good Lord that promised that inheritance to us. What then shall separate us from his love and the inheritance he promised to us, his beloved? Shall trouble or distress? Shall persecution or hunger or nakedness? What about danger or the sword? (Rom 8:35).
No, no indeed, for our Good Lord is so great a lover that he has never lost a single love (Jn 10:28). No enemy of ours can swim deep enough, hold its breath long enough, or survive the pressure at the depths of our Good Lord’s love for us, so that we are more than conquerors because of his love! (Rom 8:37).
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be convinced “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
Tomorrow, I may forget. My flesh will inevitably again and again fail. But today, today O my soul, bless the Lord! Today, O my soul, give thanks to the Good Lord! Today, he shall himself be enough! For he is the treasure and inheritance that makes this life worth living. He is who you have longed for. He is who you have been made for.
One day, O my soul, you shall indeed learn and be able to give thanks at all times, on all days, forever and ever! But for now, my dear soul, you shall start with today. Give thanks to him today from the peaks of the mountain or from the depths of the ocean. In either place your Good Lord shall be there and that is reason enough to rejoice!
Rejoice in the gloom of that dead tree,
Rejoice in the doom that wrath’s clouds bring,
Rejoice in his wounds from whence he bleeds,
For it is by this death that sinners go free.
Sing, soul, sing and look up to the skies,
Sing, soul, sing for behold the Son rise!
Sing, soul, sing and watch as death dies,
For this is our portion and he is our prize.
Julius Tennal serves on staff with the Summit College Ministry as the campus director at North Carolina Central University. To keep up with more of his worshipful words, follow him on Twitter @JBeHumble.